Five drawings by Lena Zaidel  / Nava T. Barazani, PhD
Lena Zaidel’s five drawings focus on the space of the studio. Surprisingly, she has chosen to have her wolves – who usually roam the city streets – enter the studio. When I asked her how come the ‘outdoor wolves’ have entered the interior space, the response was: “They remain outside all the time, so I wondered, why shouldn’t they come inside?”
For Lena Zaidel, the wolves are the symbol found in the space of art-making and creative work; as such, they constitute an element that subverts and shake things up to motivate the process. She relates how they represent shaman-like magical powers, acting as raw materials assisting in activation. The other animals whom Zaidel welcomes into her drawings alongside of the wolves are passers-by who add symbolic energy, powers from nature and the soul. The half-opened doors through which the animals enter are dream symbols evoking the temptation to open wide for in-depth experience. After all, “If one were to give an account of all the doors one has closed and opened, of all the doors one would like to re-open, one would have to tell the story of one’s entire life.“ The 21 visiting animals pass by the artist as she sits in a kind of meditative state of concentration, caressing the wolves stretched out on the floor, as if enabling them to calm down from the aggressive metaphors of activity that they embody.
As Tristan Tzara wrote in his book Where the Wolves Drink [Où Boivent les Loups, 1932], “A slow humility penetrates the room / That dwells in me in the palm of repose.”
I questioned Lena further: “Do the wolves enable you to say things that you are not able to say?”
Her response: “Ahh, of course their very presence is some sort of provocation. Everywhere they appear, they change the landscape. A room with a wolf is not the same as a room without a wolf.”